CNA shortage takes a toll on Wisconsin healthcare facilities

Staff shortages continue to limit healthcare facilities in Wisconsin, but health administrators are hoping an online employment portal improves hiring process.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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BARABOO, Wis. (WMTV) - Staff shortages continue to limit healthcare facilities in Wisconsin, but health administrators are hoping an online employment portal improves hiring process.

SSM Health St. Clare Meadows Care Center staff is struggling to provide care for vulnerable community members in Baraboo who need it.

”We can’t take care of as many people as we would like to because we’re just short CNAs,” Administrator Ron Schaetz said. ”It’s physically hard and demanding. It’s also can sometimes be emotionally challenging if you see people that you care for pass.”

Schaetz said it’s harder to hire CNAs because the certification classes cost money and the pandemic turned people away from working in assisted living.

Kate Battiato runs WisCaregiver Careers. It is an online portal that connects long term care facilities in crisis with potential employees. The government and privately run website provides funding that eliminates CNA training costs and gives out $500 retention bonuses for new hires if they stay for six months.

”We’re hearing great feedback from our employers as we connect them with people in their communities that want to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable amongst us,” Battiato said.

Schaetz said the online portal is working. They’ve received five applications since joining the hiring database.

St. Clare Meadows CNA Sara Garcia said the job is a great career for people who want to become registered nurses.

”You learn a lot of good coping techniques that school might not necessarily prepare you for,” Garcia said. ”It’s very humbling. It allows you to really actually learn a lot about yourself with working with these people.”

Garcia is in nursing school and working as a CNA in Baraboo.

”You don’t think you’re an integral part of their life here but you really are,” Garcia said. “So when that resident family member comes up and thanks you for being a part of parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle’s life that’s also really rewarding too.”

Battiato said starting salaries range from $15 to $16 per hour for CNAs in Wisconsin.

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